Arkansas Razorbacks finalize deal to make SMU’s Chad Morris coach


Chad Morris has agreed to be the next Arkansas head football coach, leaving SMU, sources told ESPN.

Morris, 49, has a 14-22 record with the Mustangs, but his team’s performance has improved dramatically over the past three seasons. SMU went 2-10 in his first season in 2015, 5-7 in 2016 and 7-5 this season.

Morris was the architect of high-scoring offenses at Texas high schools and Clemson before rebuilding SMU’s program.

His Arkansas deal is expected to pay him in the $4 million range annually.

Other candidates for the Arkansas job included Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Memphis coach Mike Norvell, who agreed to a contract extension to remain with the school Tuesday.

The Mustangs will play Louisiana Tech in the DXL Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

The Razorbacks fired Bret Bielema last month after a 4-8 finish in his fifth season. Arkansas hired Houston’s Hunter Yurachek as its new athletic director on Monday.

Arkansas plans to announce the Morris deal later Wednesday after Yurachek’s introductory news conference and then formally introduce him on Thursday.

SMU associate head coach and running backs coach Jeff Traylor has been named interim head coach, a school source told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.

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